Monday, September 18, 2023

My Darling Girl

My Darling Girl by Jennifer McMahon
10/3/23; 320 pages
Gallery/Scout Press

My Darling Girl by Jennifer McMahon is a very highly recommended psychological horror.  I was afraid to keep reading but more scared not to find out what happened. This one had me start biting my nails. 

Alison's mother, Mavis, could be loving but was also an abusive alcoholic and she still has the physical and mental scars to prove it. It is early December and the family is decorating the house when Mavis's assistant Paul calls to let Alison know her mother is dying from cancer and only has weeks to live. Despite her childhood trauma, Ali is cautiously optimistic that Mavis really wants to try to have a relationship with her family and say good-bye, so she agrees to open up her home to her mother. It quickly becomes clear that her mother is not always who she seems to be and Ali may need to protect her own family.

That Alison would open up her home to her mother after the horrific childhood experiences she endured, is amazing and commendable. Then, when she didn't immediately ship her mother off to a facility when odd things begin to happen is shocking, more so after she begins to suspect what is happening. Clearly Alison is a complex, fully realized character. Once she begins to suspect demonic possession is stalking her family, all bets are off.

The writing is obviously excellent, compelling, and engaging. (Picture someone reading peeking between their fingers, scared, but still actively reading because they need to know what happened next.) The story is chilling and heartbreaking. Alison must unpack her mother's secrets in order to understand what is happening and then she will also know what her response to it will be. But her mothers behavior and words are bone-chilling frightening and her true self, or the evil side, only seems to come out when Alison is around.

The pages fly by in this totally engrossing, eerie foreboding narrative that will hold readers complete attention throughout. Well done, Jennifer McMahon you've proven yet again that you are an exceptional writer!

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Gallery/Scout Press via NetGalley.

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